The New York Cosmos came to Ottawa on Wednesday off a 3-1 victory against the struggling Carolina Railhawks the previous weekend. With the 0-0 against the Ottawa Fury this past Wednesday night, the Cosmos are now undefeated in their last 6 games and are in close competition with the Fury for top of the league table and a position in the post season. The Fury sit comfortably at the top of the Fall table with 20 points, 4 ahead of New York and the Cosmos are perched atop the Combined table with 36 points, 5 ahead of the Fury.
In front of a crowd of just over 6,000 on a rainy Wednesday night, the Ottawa Fury were ready for the battle. The Fury side were without two of their midfielders as Sinisa Ubiparipovic was absent from practice earlier in the week with an unknown injury. Julian de Guzman was still not game ready with the team saying he was still another week away from being fit to play. Regardless, the Fury midfield was able to hold their own without them. Lately the youngster Mauro Eustaquio has been building confidence and coming into his own. Scoring his first professional goal against Indy Eleven, he has secured himself a place in the team’s starting eleven and shows no signs of giving it up any time soon. The defensive line of Trafford, Falvey, Alves, and Richter, were again at their best on Wednesday night, able to hold off the likes of talented Raul, Walter Restrepo, and Lucky Mkosana. For a team that had given Ottawa Fury some difficulty in the past, the Cosmos were not able to take more than a point from this game. Head Coach Marc Dos Santos accredits this to the growth and maturity of the Fury side. “The quality and maturity of the locker room is very different than what we had last season. Everybody got better in the league. New York got better, we got better.”
In the end, the top two teams in the NASL played to a 0-0 draw, a point that coach Dos Santos is satisfied with. “I think at the end of the day it’s a fair tie. It was a good 0-0 game. We did a mature game and we did a playoff game in my opinion and it’s an important point.” NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson was in town for the match and liked what he saw from the two teams. “They both showed they’re two of the best teams in the league and they played that way.”
The Fury are back in action Saturday night at 7pm at TD Place, as the Tampa Bay Rowdies come to town. Tampa Bay are in the midst of a major transition as President and General Manager Farrukh Quraishi and head coach Thomas Rongen were fired from the club earlier this month after a stretch of disappointing results in the Fall Season. The Rowdies organization announced that Assistant Coach Stuart Campbell would take over Head Coaching duties on a permanent basis making his Head Coaching debut in Ottawa on Saturday. The club are sitting in last position in the fall table but are in a playoff spot at fourth place in the league’s combined table. Eager to turn their season around, Tampa Bay will be looking for points on the weekend. Ottawa Fury goalie Romuald Peiser is keeping it all in perspective saying, “If we are able to win this game it will be a very big step for the playoffs. But if we are able to make a point, a point is a point. We play for points, we don’t play for fun.”